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Commute of the Future: MTA will onboard brand new R211 subway cars into passenger service this year

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will roll out its brand-new R211 subway cars into passenger service this year, company honchos introduced Friday forward of a showcase journey aboard the new choo-choo on the F line.

The MTA intends to put 515 R211s into income service this spring, whereas one other 20 cars that includes an “open gangway” design — the place carriages are linked like an articulated bus, permitting protected motion between cars — are anticipated to start their tenure on the A/C line by the finish of 2023. Testing is underway for each fashions, and the open gangway cars had been showcased to the public for the first time Friday.

“Putting these cars into service will be a huge milestone in the MTA’s efforts to modernize our fleet,” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber stated in a press release. “These modern subway cars will of course upgrade the passenger experience, but they will also complement our signal improvement efforts and allow us to run more trains and provide more frequent subway service.”

The open gangway R211, loaded with MTA brass and reporters, sojourned on the F line from the Coney Island yard to Kings Freeway in Brooklyn, offering the public a tantalizing glimpse into the future of their commute.

The R211s characteristic wider doorways, fold-up seats for accessibility, and all come geared up with safety cameras and trendy sign tech.Marc A. Hermann / MTA

The R211s, inbuilt Nebraska by the Japanese multinational Kawasaki, characteristic wider doorways to hurry up boarding, fold-up seating for these with disabilities, and upgraded digital shows with extra station-specific info, the MTA says. Each automobile additionally comes geared up with safety cameras and is pre-installed with communications-based prepare management (CBTC), the trendy signaling expertise regularly changing the subway’s Nice Melancholy-era analog alerts.

These R211s characteristic an “open gangway” design permitting free motion between cars. They’ll roll into service by the finish of 2023.Marc A. Hermann / MTA

The R211 will in the end substitute the MTA’s oldest rolling inventory nonetheless in service: the R44, which entered service in 1972 and presently runs on the Staten Island Railway, and the R46, on the rails since 1975 and presently assigned to the A, C, N, Q, and W traces together with the Rockaway Park shuttle.

These have been the oldest cars in the system since the retirement of the R32 “Brightliners” in 2022 after almost 60 years in service, the longest tenure of any subway cars on Earth at the time. The R46, identified for its retro decor and “conversational seating” arrangement, will be missed, however its time has come, stated Lieber.

MTA Chair Janno Lieber rides the R211 on the F line in Brooklyn on Feb. 3, 2023.Marc A. Hermann / MTA

“New Yorkers always want and deserve train cars that haven’t lived through eight presidents like our beloved R46s,” Lieber stated at a press convention earlier than using the R211. “We do love the R46s, we love the color scheme, we love the old-timeyness. But it’s time for them to go for a swim.”

The MTA first introduced the cars of the future back in 2018, signing a contract price as much as $4 billion what might in the end be greater than 1,600 prepare cars. The primary 535 price $1.45 billion.

However their arrival in New York was delayed for over a year each by the pandemic and by numerous points at Kawasaki’s Lincoln, Nebraska plant, together with persistent mismanagement and frequent worker turnover, forcing the MTA to intently monitor Kawasaki’s workflow.

The R211 options redesigned digital shows with extra information on stations.Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Regardless of that, the company executed a contract choice in October to buy 640 extra R211s from Kawasaki for $1.78 billion, arguing the state-of-the-art carriages had been price the wait and the price. The second order of cars is about for supply by 2025, although the MTA is “holding their feet to the fire” to make sure the cars arrive on schedule.

“I am sympathetic to everybody who has had supply chain issues and labor issues coming out of the pandemic,” stated Lieber. “It’s real, we are sympathetic. But it’s our job to insist that the contracts be adhered to, and we are on top of them every day. We are sending people out to Lincoln, Nebraska to watch them and make sure they’re doing it well, because our passengers are waiting for these cars.”

Ought to testing proceed to point out promise, the MTA might execute one other contract choice to order one other 437 cars, doubtlessly all of them that includes open gangways.

New York isn’t the solely metropolis excited by the R211s, of course. Final year, greater than 20,000 residents voted the R211 the “coolest thing made in Nebraska” in a bracket-style contest run by the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Business.

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